An online community is a great place to fill in the gaps left behind by big data. Even good data will not provide the most accurate picture of the consumer. Consumers make decisions based on emotion and then rationalize their decisions after the fact. Big data provides a lot of information on the purchase, and what action led up to the purchase, but it provides no insight into the emotions involved in the consumer making the purchase.
This is just as important for B2B as B2C purchases, perhaps more so given the price, and long-term implications, of the B2B purchase.
Here are eight ways to get consumer insights with an online community to supplement big data and accelerate sales:
1. Focus on making an emotional connection with the customer.
Encourage customer service reps and customer-facing employees to create personal connections with customers rather than adhering to the corporate dialog. Engage customers directly in the community and take discussions off-line if necessary. Show customers empathy for their situation, questions or concerns.
2. Commit to solving customer and prospect problems.
Having a community in which you proactively answer customer questions is a great place to showcase your commitment to providing an outstanding customer experience.
3. Empower employees to engage customers and prospects via your online community.
Employees who have the right tools to resolve customer issues without escalating them to management will be proactive in solving problems which will increase customer satisfaction and brand image.
4. Understand why your customer is loyal to you.
This can be an ongoing discussion in your community. Loyalty can be bought, emotional connections cannot. Having insights into why someone is a loyal customer will give you an idea of how long they’ll be around when a better deal comes along.
5. Understand what your customers think about your product and service.
Ask them what they like, what they don’t like, what do they consider as an alternative to your product or service? The more you know about your customer, the better you’ll be able to develop and direct your message to prospective customers.
6. Understand your customers’ pain points.
By understanding your customers’ needs and wants, you will be able to develop a product or service that addresses them thereby earning more loyalty and business.
7. Deliver high-impact customer experiences.
Ask your customers what you can do to deliver meaningful and personalized experiences. Keep this information in your customer relationship management (CRM) database. Not all customers will want the same thing so it’s important to know what each customer prefers.
8. Educate employees on the importance of consumer insights.
By engaging employees in your business, they will feel and act more like owners and will help your business grow by providing better customer experiences that will lead to more business and more referrals from satisfied customers and their friends. Make sure you recognize and reward your star performers that help your business grow and wish the others well as they go to start their own business or go to work for someone else where they will or won’t add to the success of the company by providing consumer insights.
Does your firm use an online community to enhance customer engagement and insights? What do you and your firm do to obtain more consumer insights from your customers to accelerate sales?